Good stuff on Netflix that might look like it's "just" for women/girls?
March 6, 2018 9:40 AM   Subscribe

What are some good shows or movies on Netflix that I might have skipped because of the Male Glance?

Please see linked MetaFilter discussion of this article that explains
Generations of forgetting to zoom into female experience aren’t easily shrugged off, however noble our intentions, and the upshot is that we still don’t expect female texts to have universal things to say.
posted by straight to Media & Arts (61 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Not know what you've skipped, Jane the Virgin might fall into this category for you?
posted by sagc at 9:42 AM on March 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

Orange is the New Black?
posted by Heloise9 at 9:51 AM on March 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

Gilmore Girls?
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:51 AM on March 6, 2018 [12 favorites]

Alias Grace
Call the Midwife
Top of the Lake
posted by xyzzy at 9:59 AM on March 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

Does it have to be Netflix? "My Name is Doris" is on Amazon streaming, and it is an amazing portrait of how women are viewed and rhetorically constructed within culture (and within different cultures).

Others that come to mind, not all are on Netflix:

-Anne with an E
-Little Women (coming to Netflix later this month)
-One Day at a Time (the reboot)
-Legally Blonde (not a joke, very important movie, I had a film professor teach in college based on shot construction alone)
-New Girl
-Younger (Hulu, I think?)
-Veronica Mars (Prime?)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:04 AM on March 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

Another vote for Orange Is The New Black. I know some men who watch it. I really liked season 2 best. Season 3 was a bit more lighthearted and season 4 was very bleak but tackled more serious issues. I haven't watched season 5 yet because it got worse reviews than all the other seasons, but seasons 1-4 will be worth it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:06 AM on March 6, 2018

Not on Netflix, but on Amazon: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I wanted to watch it because it's from the writers of Gilmore Girls. My husband started watching with me and liked it as much as I did. Smart, strong female lead.
posted by hydra77 at 10:10 AM on March 6, 2018 [20 favorites]

+1 for Alias Grace and Call the Midwife

You may not have skipped it, but in case you have: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is terrific.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 10:15 AM on March 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

I second Call the Midwife a thousand times, it's such a hopeful uplifting show.
There's also the Ms. Fisher Murder Mysteries.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:15 AM on March 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

Better Things from Pamela Adlon! Unfortunately Louis CK is an executive producer. But it is such a great show, especially Season 2.

Oops, sorry... it's not on Netflix. I missed that part.
posted by barnoley at 10:17 AM on March 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

Clouds of Sils Maria
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 10:23 AM on March 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

Grace and Frankie
posted by driedmango at 10:31 AM on March 6, 2018 [15 favorites]

Grace and Frankie. on preview: jinx
posted by freezer cake at 10:31 AM on March 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you have Amazon Prime, any experience adjacent to the New Age movement, and a sense of humor, I cannot recommend Anna Biller's The Love Witch enough. And no man I know will concede to watching it.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:32 AM on March 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Call the Midwife
One Day at a Time
New Girl
posted by elsietheeel at 10:46 AM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Tina Fey is one of the creators.
posted by FencingGal at 10:51 AM on March 6, 2018 [11 favorites]

This is an older series, but I had my husband sit down and watch the 1995 BBC version of Pride & Prejudice and he LOVED it (as did his brother), and then sought out the book to read. It was on Netflix last I checked.


Lady Dynamite
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (I like the first 2 seasons better than the third)
Agent Carter (first season)
The Crown, if you like historical drama
posted by castlebravo at 10:58 AM on March 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

seconding Jane the Virgin, and n-thing Grace and Frankie. I may have watched 8 episodes of g&f on Sunday while knitting socks.

(I feel compelled to say that I started out of morbid/angry curiosity because Jane Fonda is not my favorite person, but it’s good. It’s really really nice to see older women’s lives treated sort of seriously. The main characters are 70.)
posted by bilabial at 11:02 AM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm always hesitant to recommend movies since tastes do vary so much, but here's a number of films from the past couple years that may be on Netflix and to my mind fit the standard you're looking for. A few are directed by men, most by women, some comedies, some serious dramas and most somewhere in between, they're from the US and abroad, so they'll give some options to browse at least.

Lady Bird
The Love Witch
The Fits
The Innocents
Certain Women
The Lure
Into the Forest
Sweet Bean
Our Little Sister
Songs My Brother Taught Me
In a World
Toni Erdmann
American Honey
Edge of Seventeen
On Body and Soul
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Maggie's Plan
Battle of the Sexes
Queen of Katwe
posted by gusottertrout at 11:03 AM on March 6, 2018 [10 favorites]

Happy Valley! It's my favorite cop show.
posted by goatdog at 11:04 AM on March 6, 2018 [10 favorites]

I don't know that they break the male glance but in addition to all of the stereotypical male stuff I watch (and I do watch a lot of it), I find myself turning to Casual, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Younger, UnReal, and The Arrangement for more female-centric shows. Lately, I've also started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

All of these are problematic in their own way. Of the ones that nobody else has mentioned Casual is my strongest recommendation, not because it's the best show, but in a lot of ways, the characters are very real. They're mixed up and confused and maybe a bit self-deluded even while they're trying to gain perspective and figure out their lives.

Younger has a lot of the same issues as Sex and the City (given it's from the same creator, that's not unexpected) but since I'm rapidly turning into an old, it provides a bit of a culture check on what the youngs are on about.

Season two of UnReal was terrible. I haven't started on season three yet, (I'm behind in my TV viewing) so I can't comment on whether it has regained its form.

I also watch Mozart in the Jungle, and again, I'm not sure it's devoid of the male gaze (in a lot of ways it very male gazey) but it has a number of female characters of varying degrees of likeableness (and at various ages and stages in their careers).
posted by sardonyx at 11:08 AM on March 6, 2018

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
posted by Blissful at 11:09 AM on March 6, 2018 [6 favorites]

How To Get Away With Murder is ignored by a lot of men because it's part of Shondaland, but if you like high drama legal shows with ensemble casts, this will bring all that and a lot more. A thing I really like about it is how it's not just focused on women, but specifically focused on a black (spoiler alert) bisexual woman who went from poverty to respected and wealthy, and is complicated as hell as a person.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:12 AM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Better Things season 1 is on Hulu if you have that, and I agree it's worth the watch. Not sure when/if they will get season 2.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:17 AM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Outlander! female lead, narrator, and viewpoint. Also, female that takes pleasure and agency in her sex life. I’m not sure if it reads as a “women’s show” as there’s lots of men and (male) politics and battle scenes in it too, but it’s... female gaze, and I highly recommend I for that.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:23 AM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

It's not on Netflix, but in case it eventually makes it way there (or you end up with an HBO Now subscription): Big Little Lies is the first thing that jumped into my head when I read that article about the Male Glance. There were even some good articles that came out after the initial reviews noting how differently male and female critics rated the show when it premiered, and how misogyny seemed to be a big factor in the initial negative critical responses to the show.

I watched it and was surprised at just how good I found it. I expected it to be a soapy drama of middling quality but it was really excellent and so much more than that.
posted by iminurmefi at 11:32 AM on March 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

I can't believe I'm only the second person to mention this, but OUTLANDER.

My husband won't even watch this, thinking it's for women (tsk tsk). It's merely about and from a woman's perspective, and it's FANTASTIC.
posted by ancient star at 11:45 AM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Outlander is a great example of something I watched very reluctantly (like Austen stuff, and for similar reasons) but found to be amazing.

TV shows I haven't seen mentioned:

-the good place
-once upon a time

For movies, I really liked Arrival and also enjoyed Still Alice. You've probably already seen Bridesmaids, but if not, do!

*Not sure if all of the above are currently available on US Netflix, but I watched them all on Canadian Netflix.
posted by randomnity at 11:55 AM on March 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

The Good Place

Murder in Suburbia

Being Erica


nthing Orange is the New Black
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:56 AM on March 6, 2018

The Good Wife did this for me, though I haven't seen all of it yet. Also a French crime show called Les Témoins [Witnesses], and if you can cope with a show that seems like it will be just another serial killer going after women, The Fall is actually much more than that.

Less crime, more politics, the Danish show Borgen is about a female PM, and lots more. It used to be on Netflix, may only be dvd now
posted by Athanassiel at 11:58 AM on March 6, 2018

def. better things (and there's a second season out!)
posted by speakeasy at 12:08 PM on March 6, 2018

Chewing Gum - a breath of fresh air written by and starring the fabulously talented Michaela Cole.

Crazyhead - I've only seen one episode, but it stars the also-fabulously talented Susan Wokoma who is also in Chewing Gum, where she stole every scene she was in.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 12:16 PM on March 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

Also Orphan Black and Sense8. I blame lack of caffeine for not mentioning them before since they are possibly my two favourite shows ever.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:23 PM on March 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Another amazing one (though not sure if it's on Amazon or Netflix): Fleabag.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:23 PM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Orphan Black
posted by starlybri at 12:31 PM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Jane the Virgin absolutely 1000%
posted by rossination at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2018

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries---Edwardian Australian gentleperson detective drama. Available on the Canadian one at least.
posted by bonehead at 1:08 PM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is also available on Netflix. I heartily recommend it.

On a different track, The Great British Bake Off/The Great British Baking show is something so gentle and loving and some how more tense than any other reality show, without any of the backstabbing, quick cuts, crying confessionals about sabotage, or any of the other tropes that define the genre.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Suggested on the blue but bears repeating here: Jessica Jones.

Also, much fluffier, but Cheer Squad was some of the most enjoyable reality TV I've watched in a while. It follows a world-class Canadian cheerleading squad for a year, through training and life and such.
posted by mosst at 1:28 PM on March 6, 2018

Also the new season of Jessica Jones is coming out on Friday and it has 100% female directors and yayayayay and if you haven't watched before then there's no better time to start than now!
posted by mosst at 1:33 PM on March 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

GLOW, on Netflix, about a 1980s female wrestling troupe.

It's not currently on subscription streaming (or not in the UK, anyway), but I loved "Drop Dead Diva". It had respect for all of its characters, including those who initially appeared to be set up as villains or airheads.
posted by kelper at 1:37 PM on March 6, 2018 [13 favorites]

Ooh! If you watch GLOW, don't miss the documentary GLOW: The Story of The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Also on Netflix.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 1:50 PM on March 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Wait...only one mention of Lady Dynamite? What is wrong with you people?!
posted by sexyrobot at 2:03 PM on March 6, 2018

Oh, Revenge! It's a reboot of The Count of Monte Cristo, as played by a pretty blonde socialite who secretly wants to destroy all the privileged assholes living in the Hamptons who helped frame her father for murder or prevent him from attaining justice. It's very satisfying to watch corrupt rich people get different forms of comeuppance, but I've never known a dude who watched it.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 2:34 PM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:21 PM on March 6, 2018

Little Witch Academia
posted by one for the books at 3:42 PM on March 6, 2018

Movie: Jupiter Ascending
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 5:26 PM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Love Witch enough. And no man I know will concede to watching it.

What? Really? FWIW I know many men (including myself) who have watched it and loved it. All of Anne Biller's films are great and interesting. She deserves to be much better known then she is.

Some of Anne's earlier short films are available to watch on Youtube. I'd recommend the films of Agnès Varda as well.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:52 PM on March 6, 2018

Crazy Ex Girlfriend is so good. I assumed it was going to be some kind of shitty misogynistic comedy based on the name, but it’s not at all - it was created by two women and is one of my favorite shows of all time.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:54 PM on March 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

I also can't believe I forgot to mention Homeland. Carrie isn't always likeable, but she stomps all over the male glance thing.

Question for those of you recommending Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex Girlfriend: do you also like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Good Place?
posted by Athanassiel at 7:51 PM on March 6, 2018

I also really enjoyed Grace & Frankie. The L Word is older and not a Netflix show but they currently have it. Great drama about a group of lesbian friends in California.
posted by perrouno at 8:37 PM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I skipped Orphan Black because the cover image is so dumb but THAT WAS A MISTAKE. Watch now.

Also, yeah, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is great and for everyone and smart and feminist and branded wrong.
posted by athirstforsalt at 11:57 PM on March 6, 2018

The mention of the cover art for Orphan Black, indeed a fine show, reminds me that one to remember when looking for movies or shows that are attempting to work against the "male glance" is that the marketing for those works often doesn't do justice to the movies since they try to sell the product by appealing to the same dynamic the movies are working against. So don't rely on cover art or short synopses to judge the movies as many of the shows aren't selling high concept plots and action which is what blurbs and stills are best at conveying. Watch trailers and look to reviewers or people you trust and ignore the packaging.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:40 AM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Breadwinner- lovely, well-animated, familiar concept but from a less-familiar (Pakistani) perspective. It's a movie but I'm currently meting it out like a series because I don't want it to end.
posted by JulesER at 7:17 AM on March 7, 2018

Question for those of you recommending Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex Girlfriend: do you also like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Good Place?
I love the Good Place and like Jane the Virgin*. I didn't enjoy Crazy Ex Girlfriend and haven't watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Additionally, I'll recommend Bunheads. Unlike Gilmore Girls, if you watch for awhile, you really need to identify with one of the female characters -- there aren't male characters who main (some have arcs). There are four teenager girls and two women and their time together centers around dance, but also spends a lot of time working through important life stuff like career choices, dating, sex, divorce, death, friendship. It was an amazing show (and I'm not particularly into dancing) and I'm still waiting for it to come out on DVD.

*I'm currently a season behind, but still watching slowly.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:27 AM on March 7, 2018

+1 for Top of the Lake (at least season 1, haven't seen 2), and Fleabag (on Amazon). If you do enjoy Fleabag (or don't have Amazon), also check out Phoebe Waller Bridge's previous project, Crashing, on Netflix.

Crazyhead started out really strong, but got weaker as the series went on; still enjoyed it, tho.
posted by Bron at 8:30 AM on March 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

N'thing The Good Place - the cover art has cupcakes and a blonde lady (Kristen Bell, I learned later) and looks utterly generic/sitcom-ish. My eyes skipped over it and barely stopped.

Then my wife watched an episode and said 'Hey, this is not what it looks like'.

In reality it's one of the best things I've watched in the last few years and is incredibly multi-layered and hilarious.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:51 AM on March 7, 2018

With The Good Place, I got massively turned off by Kristen Bell's character's meanness, particularly the fat jokes. Yes, I get that is the whole point - she is not a nice person. But the meanness was sufficiently hurtful that I didn't want to stick around to see if she got any nicer.

Dominant trends in comedy seem to include either (or both) meanness and embarrassment, neither of which appeals, which I guess is why I watch so many serious shows - they are often problematic too, but at least there's no laugh track.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:49 PM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Wentworth, about a women's prison in Australia.
posted by rpfields at 10:17 PM on March 11, 2018

Crazyhead: as good as Zombieland and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels but lasts longer
The Santa Clarita Diet: as good as Zombieland but lasts way longer. As good as the first season of Dexter, but way funnier. Better than Adam Sandler films.
Jessica Jones Season 2: better than Daredevil Season 2.
Carrie Pilby: As good as Failure to Launch and a more poigniant child prodigy than William H Macy in Magnolia.
Dear White People - as good as Pump up the Volume or Waterboys.
The Incredible Jessica James - as good as anything by Wes Andersen or Spike Lee

Jen Kirkman, Iliza Schleschinger, Chelsea Peretti, Tig Nattaro
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:56 PM on March 21, 2018

Ohhhh comedians. Definitely watch the two Jen Kirkman specials, but try the Ali Wong special too.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:16 PM on March 21, 2018

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